Prometheus postmortem *spoiler-free*
Well, the day came and went, and I chose to see Prometheus in 3D at the IMAX for the full monty. I’d been looking forward to this film more than any other this year and the hype and expectation had already built up to unreasonable levels before it opened. I realised this, had actively tried to avoid reading spoilers, scripts, watching the more recent ‘here’s the film all laid out for you’ trailers and the odd online opinion beforehand but this proved harder as the release date neared. I went in knowing that it couldn’t possibly live up to expectation but hoping that I hadn’t see or heard EVERYTHING about it and that there was still some mystery left. There was, not as much as I hoped, but enough so that there were surprises, a couple of revelations and more questions left unanswered than tied up neatly.
One aspect that virtually everyone who’s seen it is unanimous about is that it looks stunning, the sets, design and landscapes are as beautiful and richly detailed as you’d hope. There are lots of references to H.R. Giger’s classic Alien designs, it’s fleshed out, maybe not so creepy in the harsh light of day, but there is a strong lineage between the film and the original Alien. There are also some lovely designs for some of the interiors of the Prometheus ship although they look vaguely 70′s retro but are then juxtaposed with Minority Report-style touch screens which jarrs. The main failing point is that the characters aren’t particularly loveable, you don’t care about them enough, although Fassbender turns in a great performance as David, the artificial human, you’re never quite sure where his loyalties lie. Charlize Theron‘s character could have been put to much better use I felt and the last third of the film is a bit of a mess with no really satisfying pay off in the final scenes.
Overall it’s good though, I recommend you see it and make up your own mind, it will get people talking, disagreeing most likely, about the whole Alien universe. As far as prequels go and as an attempt to inject some new life into a franchise that’s had diminishing returns since Aliens, it succeeds admirably compared to something like The Phantom Menace or The Thing and I’d hold it above Alien 3, 4 and both AVP films (not hard) by a long way. It’s good but not great, I’d give it a 7 or 8 out of 10 but I didn’t enjoy it as much as The Avengers (I realise how ridiculous this comparison is though). I think it will bear repeat viewing and could be appraised differently once everyone’s calmed down with their reactionary conclusions and maybe given it a second chance. Look at Blade Runner‘s initial critical reception, I’m not suggesting it’s anywhere in that league as it’s not, but opinions differ when expectations are high. The 3D is good but not essential, I imagine it would be just as good without, but a big screen will make you appreciate some of the locations more than a small one.